You know him either as the Vikings quarterback, the “That’s Incredible” host or as the guy who, through countless late-night infomercials, introduced us to marketing hurricane that is Tony Robbins.
Now know him as a peer.
Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton has entered the retirement-business world as chairman of Tarkenton Financial, an annuity-based business for seniors. The company, founded by the 63-year-old Tarkenton 18 months ago, deals primarily with insurance policies and financial planning for the elderly. Tarkenton has long pitched other products aimed at older Americans, and he says moving into financial services was a logical step.
“It’s all about leveraging my brand name,” Tarkenton says.
Tarkenton holds no official planning designations himself, but he has a long history as an entrepreneur, particularly in the field of insurance, starting his first company in 1968.
In 1999, Tarkenton ran afoul of the SEC when a software business he headed, Knowledgeware, was charged with illegally inflating revenues. The regulatory action resulted in more than $150,000 in fines and restitution, and Knowledgeware has since gone out of business. (See the official SEC complaint here.)
Tarkenton says his devotion to business is more than academic. Despite his success on the gridiron, football did not leave him well-off, so he needs to work.
“One year in football, I made $12,500,” he says. “I didn’t get into business when I got out of football... I’ve worked my whole life.”
Tarkenton emphasizes that Tarkenton Financial is not in the securities business, but in fixed-income annuities and the “senior premium market.” The company has offices in Atlanta and Chicago.
Even though Tarkenton has no Series 7, he says he’s involved with every decision made at his company, “down to the tiniest minutia.” All video presentations given by the firm’s reps include an introduction by Tarkenton, including information about that rep. Further, all reps meet Tarkenton personally in Atlanta before they are hired.
Tarkenton declined to disclose details on the firm’s assets under management or on the number of reps it employs.
It has been three decades since Tarkenton played football professionally, and two since his time as co-host of the variety program “That’s Incredible,” with John Davidson and Cathy Lee Crosby.
“This is my job now, and I love it,” says Tarkenton.